You may recall the question we’re addressing this week is:
What does the Jubilee Principle mean to the Nation of Israel?
For anyone just joining us:
The Jubilee principle is set forth in Leviticus 25
13 In the Year of Jubilee each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors.
What this means is that land could not be sold permanently out of the family. Every 50th year it returned to the family who originally owned it. The people of Israel were aware of this, and the price paid for land was to reflect how long it would be owned by the purchaser. God, through Moses gave the following instructions:
14 “When you make an agreement with your neighbor to buy or sell property, you must not take advantage of each other.
15 When you buy land from your neighbor, the price you pay must be based on the number of years since the last jubilee. The seller must set the price by taking into account the number of years remaining until the next Year of Jubilee.
16 The more years until the next jubilee, the higher the price; the fewer years, the lower the price. After all, the person selling the land is actually selling you a certain number of harvests.
17 Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other. I am the Lord your God.
A question that can be legitimately raised is:
What if the person who sold the land doesn’t live long enough for the land to be restored to him?
The answer was very simple: It would be restored to his heirs. (Lev. 25:41)
This has direct impact on the question we are considering today:
What does the Jubilee Principle mean to the Nation of Israel?
The law of the Jubilee applies not only to individuals, but to the nation of Israel as a whole.
The reason for this is found in what God said in Leviticus 25:23:
23 ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.
Moses looking down the corridor of years with a prophet’s eye saw the future disobedience of the Nation of Israel and it’s consequences telling the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 4:
25 “When you become the father of children and children’s children and have remained long in the land, and act corruptly, and make an idol in the form of anything, and do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord your God so as to provoke Him to anger
26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed.
27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord drives you.
He also testified to God’s faithfulness to them saying:
28 There you will serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.
29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.
30 When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice.
31 For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.
In the book of Deuteronomy which was Moses’ farewell to the Nation of Israel he prophesied of Israel’s scattering. This was called the dispersion of diaspora by the people of Jesus’ day, as evidenced in John 7:
33 Therefore Jesus said, “For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me.
34 You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
35 The Jews then said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find Him? He is not intending to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He?
James also uses this term opening his letter with these words:
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
For centuries the somewhat derogatory term of Wandering Jew was used to describe the Jewish people who to this day can be found in almost every nation of the earth.
However, God, through Moses also prophesied the return of the people of Israel to their ancestral homeland, saying in Deuteronomy 30:
“So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you,
2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons,
3 then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.
4 If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back.
5 The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
This promise was reinforced throughout the years by the prophets God raised up for the nation of Israel, some of whom were part of the dispersion. Here are the words of two of them:
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.
3 For behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The Lord says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.’” (Jeremiah 30)
41 As a soothing aroma I will accept you when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered; and I will prove Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.
42 And you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the land which I swore to give to your forefathers. (Ezekiel 20)
In line with what the church has believed and taught for centuries, Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn writes:
“It was all there at the beginning of their history. The return of the Jewish people to their ancient land would be the sign of the end times. But for that to happen . . . for a nation to be destroyed, for its people to be scattered to the ends of the earth and then to return to their homeland and come back into history…that would be unprecedented…it would go against all odds and would defy the laws of history. For the Jewish people to return to their ancient land would be the mystery of the Jubilee manifesting on a cosmic scale. And if this was to happen it would mean the hand of God moving in the events of the modern world. It would mean that behind the events of the modern world was an ancient mystery.” (The Oracle, p. 27)
This is in line with the teaching and prophesy of Ezekiel which says
8 After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them. (Ezekiel 20)
The Law of the Jubilee was not only true for individual Jewish people, but is true for Israel on a national scale, because God who by right of creation, owns all things gave that land to the Jewish people for eternity and promised to bring them back to it in the latter times. That prophecy has been fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled as Jewish people from around the world migrate to Israel. As Rabbi Cahn stated the Law of the Jubilee is being fulfilled in a cosmic sense.
Next week’s study will look at prophecies being fulfilled in the land of Israel while her people were for the most part absent.